What is Respite Care?

When you’re the primary caregiver for your loved one, you may face burnout or extreme fatigue as you constantly tend to someone else’s needs. Maybe you also have a family or even another job to balance as well, making caregiving more taxing physically and mentally. Needless to say, every so often you may need a break from your caregiving duties. That’s where respite care comes in.

Respite care essentially provides temporary relief for caregivers so that the primary caregiver can step away and take some time to rest, refresh, and recharge. Respite caregivers come in and completely take over your loved one’s care while you take whatever time you need. Primary caregivers may take the time away from their job to catch up with friends and family, run errands, go on vacation, or just sit back and unwind from their demanding role.

Respite care is also benefits the person receiving care. Getting the care they need from someone else gives them the opportunity to socialize and interact with a new person other than their usual caregiver. Respite caregivers assume all the responsibilities of caregiving while the primary caregiver takes a break.

Who Needs Respite Care and Why?

Primary caregivers who are facing caregiver stress, burnout, or other pressing obligations may need to step away from their caregiving role for a bit. This temporary relief from their caregiving duties allows them the time they need to attend to other matters – be it resting and relaxing, spending time with friends and family, or other obligations. Respite care is valuable because the caregiver can come back to work feeling refreshed mentally and physically – resulting in better care and health outcomes for their care recipient.

What Do Respite Care Services Include?

Respite care services range and can be as informal or formal as needed. If you’re providing personal care and helping your loved one with their activities of daily living, maybe a family member or friend takes over the caregiving responsibilities while you take time away. There are other options as well, like hiring a paid respite caregiver or adult day-care to assume duties and provide care.

How Long Does Respite Care Last?

Primary caregivers can take time off for as little as a few hours to days or weeks. Respite care is flexible when it comes to timing; it can be temporary or long-term. The service is accessible and available to primary caregivers to fit into their schedule and when they feel like they need to step away to look after themselves.

How Much Does Respite Care Cost?

Costs of respite care vary depending on the type of care your loved one needs and the frequency of care. Most respite care services charge by the hour, day, or week. Unfortunately, many insurance plans do not cover respite care costs. 

Medicare only provides coverage of respite care for a certain amount of time and is limited to those receiving hospice care. However, most individuals are not eligible for Medicare-covered hospice care and thus won’t qualify for respite care coverage under their Original Medicare plan.

In regards to Medicaid, respite care coverage is largely determined by the state administering the Medicaid program. Depending on the state’s coverage options, Medicaid recipients can receive respite care coverage through the Home & Community-Based Care Services (HCBS) waiver.

If you’re a U.S. military veteran, the Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) potentially has options to cover respite care. VA medical centers can give you the time off you need for a short period, and the VHA allows veterans enrolled in the VA health care system to receive respite care benefits as well.

How to Find Respite Care?

Once you understand all your needs when it comes to respite care, finding respite care can be as informal or as thorough as you’d like. A common option for primary caregivers is to depend on family or friends to provide respite care for a few hours or a day. If your loved one needs overnight or formal supervision, you may want to consider enrolling your loved one in an adult daycare or a facility that offers overnight caregiving. Some of those facilities include assisted living, nursing homes, hospitals, or local senior centers.

Other options caregivers turn to for respite care include reaching out to local volunteer groups, their faith communities, or their local councils on aging to seek a respite caregiver. At Open Systems Healthcare, we also provide options for respite care and can help you lighten your load. Find an office near you to get started or give us a call at 1-855-616-2662.